Week Recap and Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

Closing off the month of May and level 4 of lockdown in style, this blog will give a brief overview of what’s been covered this week in our blogs, before turning to what businesses can expect under level 3 in June.

Week Recap

REMINDER – The deadline for the Annual Employer Reconciliation Period is this Sunday, 31 May, as detailed in our previous blog.

Upcoming ETI changes for the May EMP201 blog contents:

  • Revisions to the COVID-19 ETI legislation is being completed in time for May payroll submissions
  • Please delay in submitting for May, we shall ensure the changes are ready for 7 June and shall inform you when the changes are complete

TERS Applications for May Open blog contents:

  • Details of the application process for COVID-19 TERS applications.
  • Key changes between the TERS process for May in comparison to April

TERS: Foreign Workers Update blog contents: 

  • Details surrounding the issue(s) in making a claim for TERS benefits on behalf of foreign employees
  • Possible means of remedying the issue and prospective changes for May applications

New Functionality: Download Responses to Electronic UIF Submissions blog contents:

  • Users can now download responses from the UIF in relation to their monthly UI-19 submissions

Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

On Sunday 24 May, the President announced that the whole country will move to level 3 of lockdown on 1 June. We thought it would be handy to provide you with a blog on what this actually means for your business. Below we have summarised some of the most relevant points to note for life under level 3.

Which Businesses can now Open?

According to President Ramaphosa, as of 1 June all manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, wholesalers, retailers, media services and ICT businesses can reopen.

Retailers can be fully reopened, including stores, spaza shops and informal traders. Additionally, airlines will be allowed to reopen, initially for domestic business purposes, with more air travel being phased in on announced dates.

Industries which were open under levels 4 and 5, such as agriculture, medical services and food production, will remain fully open.

In the President’s speech, he stated that the reopening will be contingent on each business creating a workplace plan. This plan must be aligned with the Government’s guidance (discussed below), as well as any protocols released by the relevant sector (if any are released). 

You can read the Government’s notice on lockdown level 3 here. The most relevant sections to this blog are sections 46 and 47. Below are a few key points from subsections of  section 46:

  • Businesses and other institutions with over 100 employees must implement measures to minimise the number of employees in the workplace at one time. Examples given include shift patterns and remote working.
  • Relevant health protocols and social distancing measures must be adhered to, including the screening of employees.
  • Construction, manufacturing, business and financial services firms with more than 500 employees must finalise appropriate sector or workplace arrangements addressing transport, staggering employee working and screening, whilst also documenting these actions.

Under section 47 of the above notice found in the PDF linked below, each business needs to designate a “COVID-19 compliance officer”. The compliance officer needs to implement the aforementioned workplace plan, as well as oversee the adherence to hygiene measures. 

Further details of the requirements of the workplace plan and compliance officer can be found in section 47, on page 14 of this linked document.

Which Businesses must Remain Closed?

Under level 3, a number of businesses must remain closed, these include:

  • Professional Care services e.g. hairdressers, beauty treatments and beauty salons
  • Restaurants, except for the provision of takeaways, drive through services and collection
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens, nightclubs and casinos
  • Hotels, lodges and other accommodation facilities (except for certain permitted guests)
  • Gyms and sports facilities
  • Exhibit and conference centres
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Museums
  • Flea Markets and bazaars

If we are made aware of any developments for the above mentioned businesses, we shall update you.

Recommendations from Government

For this new list of businesses that can return to work, the President advised that where possible, employees should work from home. Where this is not practicable workplace plans should be in place. Additionally, those deemed especially vulnerable, such as employees over 60 years old and those who suffer from underlying conditions, should ideally work from home. Failing this, the employer needs to ensure that these vulnerable employees have a safe return to work, which may include the use of special measures.

A potential problem which was identified from the reopening of the economy is the use of public transport. It was stated that all commuters must wear masks and wash their hands before and after travelling, as well as avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands.

The full transcript of the President’s speech can be read by following this link and an infographic summarising level 3 is linked here.

Closing on a positive, to relieve the stress provided by business operations and TERS applications, you now have the opportunity to release that tension by exercising between 6am and 6pm! And on that happy note, we wish you a pleasant and relaxing  weekend.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay